Thursday, March 14, 2019

Novelty Response of Wild African Apes to Camera Traps

Another new paper from Ammie Kalan and collaborators including data from the PanAf and Chimp& See's animal selfie's miniproject!! :) Thanks to all the citizen scientists who helped hashtag camera reaction videos !!!

Novelty Response of Wild African Apes to Camera Traps (Current Biology)

And watch some best of videos HERE

• Bonobos and gorillas had stronger looking impulses compared to chimpanzees
• Young apes looked longest at camera traps compared to mature individuals
• Presence of a research site or conspecifics reduced the duration of looking
• Both social and environmental factors affect great ape curiosity in the wild

Temperament and personality research in humans and nonhuman animals measures behavioral variation in individual, population, or species-specific traits with implications for survival and fitness, such as social status, foraging, and mating success. Curiosity and risk-taking tendencies have been studied extensively across taxa by measuring boldness and exploration responses to experimental novelty exposure. Here, we conduct a natural field experiment using wildlife monitoring technology to test variation in the reaction of wild great apes (43 groups of naive chimpanzees, bonobos, and western gorillas across 14 field sites in Africa) to a novel object, the camera trap. Bonobo and gorilla groups demonstrated a stronger looking impulse toward the camera trap device compared to chimpanzees, suggesting higher visual attention and curiosity. Bonobos were also more likely to show alarm and other fearful behaviors, although such neophobic (and conversely, neophilic) responses were generally rare. Among all three species, individuals looked at cameras longer when they were young, were associating with fewer individuals, and did not live near a long-term research site. Overall, these findings partially validate results from great ape novelty paradigms in captivity. We further suggest that species-typical leadership styles and social and environmental effects, including familiarity with humans, best explain novelty responses of wild great apes. In sum, this study illustrates the feasibility of large-scale field experiments and the importance of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors in shaping animal curiosity.

Press release:
Wild African ape reactions to novel camera traps

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Human impact erodes chimpanzee behavioral diversity

photo: Liran Samuni

We are so super proud to announce the publication of our latest PanAf paper "Human impact erodes chimpanzee behavioral diversity" We hope it helps spur the call-to-action for conserving chimps and their behaviours across their range! 

Chimpanzees possess a large number of behavioral and cultural traits among non-human species. The ‘disturbance hypothesis’ predicts that human impact depletes resources and disrupts social learning processes necessary for behavioral and cultural transmission. We used an unprecedented data set of 144 chimpanzee communities, with information on 31 behaviors, to show that chimpanzees inhabiting areas with high human impact have a mean probability of occurrence reduced by 88%, across all behaviors, compared to low impact areas. This behavioral diversity loss was evident irrespective of the grouping or categorization of behaviors. Therefore, human impact may not only be associated with the loss of populations and genetic diversity, but also affects how animals behave. Our results support the view that ‘culturally significant units’ should be integrated into wildlife conservation.

Kühl HS, Boesch C, Kulik L, Haas F, Arandjelovic M, Dieguez P, Bocksberger G, McElreath MB, Agbor A, Angedakin S, Ayimisin EA, Bailey E, Barubiyo D, Bessone M, Brazzola G, Chancellor R, Cohen H, Coupland C, Danquah E, Deschner T, Diotoh O, Dowd D, Dunn A, Egbe VE, Eshuis H, Fernandez Rumen, Ginath Y, Goedmakers A, Granjon AC, Head J, Hedwig D, Hermans V, Imong I, Jeffery KJ, Jones S, Junker J, Kadam P, Kambere M, Kambi M, Kienast I, Kujirakwinja D, Langergraber K, Lapuente J, Larson B, Lee K, Leinert V, Llana M, Maretti G, Marrocoli S, Mbi TJ, Meier AC, Morgan B, Morgan D, Mulindahabi F, Murai M, Neil E, Niyigaba P, Ormsby LJ, Pacheco L, Piel A, Preece J, Regnaut S, Rundus A, Sanz C, van Schijndel J, Sommer V, Stewart F, Tagg N, Vendras E, Vergnes V, Welsh A, Wessling EG, Willie J, Wittig RM, Yurkiw K, Zuberbuehler K, Kalan AK (2019) Human impact erodes chimpanzee behavioral diversity. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.aau4532


Video Abstract: